[Ads-l] turf

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Sep 11 02:59:11 UTC 2018

> On Sep 10, 2018, at 9:51 PM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU> wrote:
> This past weekend my 13-year-old grandson and I went to a high school football game, during which a rainstorm struck.  As we sat watching wetly, I remarked, "I reckon the turf is getting all torn up."  Grandson replied, "It isn't turf; it's grass."
> I realized that his sole association of the word "turf" is "artificial turf," from which his "turf" represents a clipping (or perhaps from "astroturf").  Cf. the orthopedic term "turf toe."  So we now have the anomalous situation in which there exist two contrasting kinds of surfaces for a football or soccer field, referred to (respectively) as "turf" and "turf."
> —Charlie

Great example!  It’s not quite the same, but “sweetener” is typically taken to exclude “sugar”, which may also be thought of as “artificial” clipping.  As a pragmatics experiment, I ask for “sweetener” every time I order coffee on an airplane and 17 straight times I’ve been handed an artificial sweetener (yellow, pink, or blue), never sugar.  I also just picked up a pamphlet at my local supermarket entitled “Sugars and Sweeteners”; for another example, see https://alittlebityummy.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-low-fodmap-sugars-sweeteners/.  I can imagine complaining to the flight attendant upon getting a white packet, “This isn’t a sweetener, it’s sugar!” (If I get the chance to try it, I’ll watch for their response.)  

The difference is that I think most people would acknowledge under duress that sugar really is a sweetener, even if we don’t call it one (and even if asking for a sweetener implicates that we don’t want sugar), while many and possibly most people would deny that grass is turf.  Maybe sort of like “square” vs. “rectangle”?  


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